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On April 29th, as Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold held its annual general meeting inside Toronto's Metro Convention Centre, a colourful protest took place across the street.
Indigenous leaders from Diaguita territory in Chile, affected by Barrick's upcoming Pascua Lama mega-project, and from Ipili territory in Papua New Guinea, were permitted to address the AGM as proxy shareholders.
While the company recognized that there have been "some deaths" around the mine in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, Barrick vehemently denied any link to or responsibility for the documented extrajudicial killings, harassment by company security forces, or - more recently - the grave human rights violations currently continuing under a State of Emergency in Porgera.
A national newspaper in Papua New Guinea ran a
front page story on April 30th about security forces burning the homes of several hundred landowners living around the mine. Community activists involved with the Porgera Landowners' Association estimated that the number of torched homes has reached between 500-600 as of April 30th.
Protest Barrick, an activist network that has been working to link affected communities and raise awareness about the issues they are facing, has organized a speaking tour in southern Ontario and Montreal over the next two weeks, with the participation of affected community leaders.
Citizens protest the meeting of Canadian Prime Minister and Barrick
Two hours late and in the presence of a huge security entourage that included guards, police and special forces, Stephen Harper arrived at the offices of Barrick Gold and entered through the parking area, in order to avoid the peoples’ protest that started at 8:00 am at the entrance to the building.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.